A 20-year-old man apologized for firing a gun during a gang confrontation last summer in Chiawana Park and said he hopes to better himself while behind bars for three years.
David Reyes of Pasco was sentenced in Franklin County Superior Court to three years and three months in prison for second-degree assault, a felony, and three counts of reckless endangerment, gross misdemeanors. Three years of that sentence is mandatory for using a firearm in the crime.
Reyes, who pleaded guilty in December, told the court that he takes responsibility for his actions on that crowded Sunday in the Pasco park and was sorry for what it did to the victim.
He had considered withdrawing his plea, but his new lawyer, Joshua Lilly, said he had changed his mind and was ready to go to prison.
Reyes was part of a group that confronted Ronnie Lopez at a barbecue on Aug. 1. Lopez, 23, of Pasco, told the men that he didn't want any problems, but Reyes jumped Lopez and started punching him, according to police and court documents.
Lopez, who has a concealed weapons permit, pulled out his gun to defend himself but had no round in the chamber.
After Reyes fired several times at Lopez, the victim was able to return fire, hitting Reyes twice, documents said.
Reyes and the others fled the park but later were arrested by police. He had no known felony convictions before this case.
Wapato man with DUI history arrested for DUI
A Wapato man with a history of drunken driving was arrested earlier this month for allegedly swerving on Highway 395 and going below the speed limit after drinking several beers at a Pasco restaurant.
George Valensia-Estrada, 30, pleaded innocent to felony driving under the influence, operating a vehicle without ignition interlock, a misdemeanor, and first-degree driving with a revoked license, a gross misdemeanor. His trial is scheduled to start May 11.
According to court documents, a Franklin County sheriff's deputy was driving north on the highway at 2 a.m. March 5 when he noticed a truck "having difficulty maintaining its lane of travel." The speed limit is 70 mph but the truck, driven by Valensia-Estrada, was going 50 to 65 mph "without maintaining a constant speed," documents said.
The deputy reported that the truck was swerving within its lane and at times touching both the striped and solid fog lines. When the truck turned onto Highway 17, it crossed over the solid white line for 20 to 30 yards straddling it before the driver correct himself, the deputy reported.
That's when the deputy activated his emergency lights and stopped the truck near Pepiot Road.
Valensia-Estrada initially told the deputy he did not drink and was going home, but the passenger became agitated with the questions and said they had just come from a restaurant where they each had consumed two drinks, court documents said. Valensia-Estrada allegedly had watery and bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, and smelled of alcohol.
A check of his driver's license showed it was revoked with an interlock requirement until February 2024. He performed poorly when asked to do three field sobriety tests, documents said.
Once arrested and at the Franklin County jail, Valensia-Estrada recorded a 0.13 blood alcohol level, court documents said. The legal limit to drive in Washington is .08 percent.
He then became argumentative with officers and said he had six to seven beers at a restaurant and "that his last drink was just before he had left," documents said.
Valensia-Estrada has four DUI convictions between 2002 and 2009. He has been ordered not to possess or consume alcohol or drive without a valid license and insurance while this case is pending.
Judge says police, store owner must produce tape
A judge has ruled that a Pasco police officer and a grocery store owner will each face a $25 daily fine starting Tuesday unless they hand over a video reportedly showing an October assault.
Stephen E. Morfin, 20, faces trial April 27 for second-degree attempted assault. He is accused of pulling out a knife during a disagreement with a rival gang member in Fiesta Foods.
Judge Vic VanderSchoor issued subpoenas Feb. 1, at the request of the defense, both Officer Michelle Goenen and Fiesta Foods to supply lawyer Shelley Ajax video surveillance
His lawyer, Shelley Ajax, had asked for subpoenas ordering Officer Michelle Goenen and Fiesta Foods to give her video surveillance from the store. Judge Vic VanderSchoor signed the subpoenas Feb. 1.
But Ajax told the judge this week that she has yet to receive the evidence.
According to the victim, three men approached him Oct. 16 at the store and were "talking smack." The victim and his mother both described one man -- later identified as Morfin -- as pulling up his sweater and removing a 3- to 4-inch-long knife from his waist band after the two rivals exchanged words, court documents said.
The man said he was afraid Morfin was going to stab his mother because she stepped between the two, documents said. But after she told them to knock if off and she was going to call police, the suspects ran.
Goenen, who contacted Morfin almost two weeks later, reported that Morfin first denied ever being at the grocery store. She then told him "there was video showing he was at Fiesta Foods," and Morfin then acknowledged arguing with the man about gang affiliation, but said he had no knife, documents said.
Ajax wants to get a copy of the reported video from the 115 S. 10th Ave. store as she prepares her case for trial.
VanderSchoor initially set the daily fine at $10, then upped it to $25 if it is not handed over within the week.
Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org